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Thursday, March 14, 2013

All you who sleep tonight

It’s poetry time again. Sometimes, prose just doesn’t work (old timers will know that I wrote about ‘Poems’ a long time ago). This one is by Vikram Seth.

All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above –

Know that you aren’t alone
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one
And some for all their years.

24 comments:

Shilpi said...

I forgot to check earlier - and now when I'm about to go to sleep 'tonight' - this poem-post fits in. I wonder though whether the world sharing one's tears - doesn't feel simply more painful - and for all their years, and yet I can't help smile faintly.

I was just about to grumble now wondering why 3 years went by before you put up a poem post (although there were 2 round the same time in 2007; I got the meaning of the Robert Graves poem only a year and a half ago...)when the scores of poems I did read because you dropped hints, quoted lines, and provided links and more all rose like leaves in the wind and so I have swallowed my hasty grumble.

I re-visited your "Poems" too. There was a clang from the comments section. "Bappaditya" I still haven't read. "Three Comrades" and "The fisherman..." I have. I feel the first poem more sharply, the second I stand by what I felt earlier, and as for the third one - I might be deluded but there's no help for it. I'm sure now that real love does exist in the real world between a man and woman. I can't believe otherwise and I'll die believing the same while seeing the puzzle clearly.

Yes, poems unite the soul while speaking of one's thoughts. Thank you for getting me to read poems again when I was 27. Just in the afternoon I had wandered off with the Sanchayita reading and exclaiming over some old favourites. For now, I shall sleep tonight. This was a good un. An early bird post and a poem post.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Who but you, Shilpi, who if not you?

Debarshi_Saha said...

Respected Sir,

Warm regards. My take on Mr. Seth's fantastic little poem is presented below (Its aimed to be a continuation of his!)...

So, spare a thought for whom you care
Let them know you love
Hold on tight to all His treasures
Please the man above.

Sleep tonight with a light in your heart,
This world ain't all might
A little love is all we need
Not wounds and a fight!

All you who sleep tonight
near to the ones you love,
Let there be peace, let there be light
and fairies hover above.

The world is a little hungry child
All he seeks is love
So do a good deed every waking day,
Just like the man above!

People who care are very rare
Never let them go,
Start to care with a warm heart
And watch the winds of change blow!

Wonderful post,Sir. Soothes the heart and reassures us that we are indeed, all 'connected'.

With best wishes,
Debarshi.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

That's incredible, Debarshi: did you write that yourself? You really seem to have gone into the wrong profession then!

Debarshi_Saha said...

Respected Sir,

Warm regards. Thank you so much indeed, Sir- and yes, I did write this one myself! Lines popped out of my head- and why wouldn't it, this poem worked its magic,Sir..

:)

With best wishes,
Debarshi.

Sunup said...

Sir, your 'boy' Debarshi indeed has a wonderful gift. God bless you Debarshi!!

Regards

ananya mukherjee said...

Dear Sir
Once again a heartwarming post sir.It was my birthday yesterday and after going through your blog I went to bed happy and contented(without worrying about my ISC exams)knowing that there is someone who cares and thanked God with all my heart for giving me the opportunity to get to know someone like you. The poem really made my day. Thank you Sir.
warm regards
Ananya

Rashmi Datta said...

Dear Sir,

Thank you for this post. I am not good at understanding poetry in the first few attempts. Does the second paragraph mean that there are people who suffer in the same way as we do but are far away and unknown to us?

After many attempts and help from the internet, I now understand the poem 'The Patriot' and treasure it as a rare gem in my mind.

Warm regards
Rashmi

Debarshi, I cannot thank you enough for your continuation of the poem. You verse un-complicates life for me. We are so busy nursing grudges and picking fights, we forget what is worth our short while on this earth and what is not. Your poem has indeed lit my heart.

Thank you once again.

With best wishes,
Rashmidi

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Glad to hear you still read this blog, Ananya, and that it brought you good cheer on your birthday. That sort of thing is an unexpected bonus for a writer.

And Rashmi, yes, that is what it means, and besides, that one way in which people differ is in how long they share your sorrows. A very special few hold them close lifelong...

Tanmoy said...

Dear Suvroda

The poem is indeed beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Good work by you Debarshi. Wish you all the best for your future writings.

Regards
Tanmoy

Debarshi_Saha said...

Respected Sir,

Warm regards. I wish to avail of this opportunity to thank Sunup-da,Rashmi-di and Tanmoy-da for their kind compliments. Thank you very much indeed Sunup-da, God bless you too with good fortune and health. Rashmi-di, its such a nice compliment indeed-your and Sayan-da's blogposts too make for delightful reading, and they too make me smile; the pleasure is mutual in this regard. Tanmoy-da, thank you very much for your good wishes- I am sure they shall hold me in good stead.

Finally,once again,a big Thank-You! to Sir for this very lovely little poem- it is he who provides me much creative stimulation!

With best wishes to all,
Debarshi.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Apart from the comments here, a few people have told me privately that this post came as a warm consolation and courage booster. So I am glad that I put it up. Also sad, that this kind of post fetches so few comments although it's read hundreds of times - whereas people are so keen to write all sorts of comments (including trash and abuse) on blogs about gadgets and food and makeup and similar crap...

I know what kind of mood I was in when I wrote this post, and why. I wonder about Vikram when he wrote the poem. Just what or who had made him feel that way? Unlike smartphones (which, as Nishant said most pertinently, are for dumb people!), this kind of question stirs me strongly.

Sayan Datta said...

I don't know how much relevance my comment will have - but the poem reminded us of a Hindi song whose opening lines are -

kisi ki muskurahaton pe ho nisar,
kisi ka dard mil sake to le udhar,
kisi ke waste ho tere dil me pyar,
jeena isi ka naam hai.

To gather as much love as one can for as long as one lives and to give at least as much too...what other purpose can life serve?

Will be back to comment again later. Thanks for this post Sir, and thanks to Debarshi too for his precious continuation of the poem.

Sunup said...

The last line of the poem saddens me, Sir. Most of us would have faced that one or two or more days of loneliness/sadness. But there are so many millions in this world, all alone, no one to give them solace, comfort, company, joy.......

Dipanwita Shome said...

I can only wish that I had read this poem earlier, especially when I used to live alone in Delhi. Those six years were indeed very very lonely for me. There were times when even parents were unreachable, when, tired by the number of times I would call, they would disconnect the telephone. God knows, I have blamed them enough. I don't blame them anymore because now I can see the impossibility of the situation. I wish and wish again that I had had somebody who would then have got me to read this poem. But, worry I won't. It is not too late. I can still read it and feel good about those days in retrospect. Thank you, Sir, for this poem.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Yes, but Sayan, reflect: if most people have grown up to be utterly, narrowly, materialistically selfish, and have convinced themselves moreover that everybody else is just like them, the song won't make any sense to them at all, would it? They don't believe that love is at all possible (as distinct from various forms of sensual greed, to wit lust and avarice and gluttony), so the only 'lifestyle' they can think of living is trying to have 'fun' cheating and exploiting as many as they can for immediate material gains, and simultaneously being cheated and exploited similarly by others.... what else is there?

Sunup, I read the last two lines differently. To me, it meant that most of us share others' sorrows, if at all, only briefly, until we are diverted by more 'interesting and exciting' things: few people love others intensely enough to ache with their woes and exult with their joys over a whole lifetime. That is why, I think, most friends don't matter, but if you find the genuine thing, 'grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel', as the Bard said.

Dipanwita, you ought to comment a little more often. I sometimes think I've lost you. And I am glad that you liked the poem so much: better late than never! Just one little word of advice from old Sir - don't blame others for 'not enough' love given; just thrill and delight in what you have got, and count your blessings. Believe me, it would make you far happier. I am talking from intense personal experience here, very recent as well as much acquired over a lifetime. God bless...

Rajarshi said...

Dear Sir,

I must admit that it took a long time for me to appreciate the beauty of good poetry. I can't claim to have read all the true greats but what little I have come across - whether they be Faiz's Urdu couplets or those mandatory readings of Tennyson & Nirala in CBSE syllabus - have convinced me that poetry is indeed one of the highest forms of expression offered by any language. These lines of Vikram Seth brought in mind one line from one of your recent blogposts, "We all hug our loneliness too close to us."

In the context of poetry taught in school, with all humility, I feel that most of the teachers fail to cultivate real appreciation & love for poetry in their students. Of course, the students eyeing to ace the engineering entrance tests have scant interest either. But I think, probably, many teachers themselves have very little interest and appreciation of poetry. I remember our Hindi & English teachers asking someone in class to standup and just recite the whole poem verbatim and the class used to move on to the next topic. Examinations tested us on how well we could parrot clichéd interpretations of the poems.

So, there are times when I feel sorry for myself for not having found someone like you as my teacher.

With Best Regards,
Rajarshi

ananya mukherjee said...

Dear Sir,

I couldn't resist commenting again Sir.Actually the more I read this post the more I realize the importance of literature in our lives.But please don't lose heart that this kind of post fetches so less comments because expensive gadgets will lose their charm only too soon so that at least a few frustrated souls will find in themselves"a hunger to be more serious and spiritual" in their lives and will develop the kind of insight that enables one to appreciate artistic creations like poetry.Perhaps therein lies the immortality of art.....

My heartfelt thanks for the poem Debarshi da. Please do write many such poems for us in future.

best wishes
Ananya

Sayan Datta said...

Sir, I was listening to the song 'Jokhon porbe na mor payer chinho...' and I was suddenly reminded of what you said about who will cry when you die and how many of those tears will be genuine in your 'Look back, look around, connect' post and I sat up with a start. Certain lines of that song is haunting especially when juxtaposed with those questions of yours ... such as 'ke bole go sei probhate nei ami' and 'sokol khelay korbe khela sei ami' and the line 'bandhbe notun bahur dore...' assumes new meaning in the context of your post on death and dying.

There is a paragraph in that Hindi song -

rishta dil se dil ke aitbar ka,
zinda hai ham hi se naam pyar ka,
ki mar ke bhi kisi ko yaad ayenge,
kisi ke aansuon me muskuraenge,
kahe kali se phul yehi bar bar,
jeena isi ka naam hai.

I was wondering about the extent or degree of genuineness of those tears, Sir. I think it will be more genuine for those whose lives have been more deeply touched by yours, how much of you they have seen and understood in them...and that without a doubt would speak volumes of them rather than of you...in short how much they were willing to be loved by you and love you back in turn.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

That is one of my favourites from Tagore, Sayan, and Boudi and Pupu get very vexed whenever I hum it, until lately they have started ignoring me...:)

Yes, of course, that is precisely what I meant: how many minds and hearts have I really touched? As Harry told the minister, Dumbledore will be around as long as there is even one student left who is devoted to his memory. My grandfather will live on in my daughter because of the way I loved him and imbibed his being into myself and passed it on in a thousand different ways. On the other hand, of course it "doesn't matter" whether I live or die to a lot of people, simply because they never came to know me (that includes, alas, many thousands of my students). Which is why I said that Madhuchhanda's question was for rhetorical effect only - even if she denies it - and does not call for a reply. Of course it doesn't matter to her. Only, I know for a fact that there are not a few others to whom it will matter: both that Sir is not around any longer, and that he haunts their thoughts and dreams....

Sayan Datta said...

I do smile at your first line, Sir, though I know it's no laughing matter as far as Pupu and Boudi and several old and favourite boys and girls are concerned. A singularly disconcerting idea to contemplate...gives me nightmares. Yet contemplate we all must, at least at some point(s) in our lives..and I do many a time..only this time I am doing so with you and hence with much greater awareness. A balance has to be maintained here as well, I think - not to become obsessed with it (reminds me of the opening para of 'The fisherman mourned by his wife') so as to forget to LIVE in the here and now. There are joys and glories of our stay here as well and one mustn't forget that else one would miss the whole point of living.

In my last comment I also meant those whose lives you have touched - some deeply, some fleetingly - nijeder bhitore ora aapnake kota ta dekhte peyeche...and that will depend to a large extent on them rather than on you...I know for a fact that you leave no stone unturned in a relationship you have given your heart and mind to.

Sir, one last thing before I sign off for now - I am beginning to sense how ideas are connected. The very many ideas of your different posts, sometimes nowadays, seem to merge in a strange way - they don't seem like branches of one tree, but strangely intertwined somehow...they inexorably seem to lead to one another and it becomes difficult to see which gave birth to which...they seem all now seem to be giving birth to each other. Sorry if that seems vague - don't really have words to explain that feeling, but felt somehow that I have got to tell you.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Yes, we've got to contemplate, and better sooner than later, Sayan: that's precisely the point I am trying to make, as some of the greatest men down the ages have also insisted. Why, I shall attempt to adumbrate in the posts to follow. To avoid a fear is to live in fear all one's life, get much less out of it as a result than one might have, and suffer from all kinds of delusions and neuroses...

With reference to your last paragraph, I get it you are one of the few who have laboured over my entire blog for a long time and at last begun to see a pattern emerging. I am glad, and well content. Just to help you along a bit, everything does hang together, yes: it's all about what I have learnt of how to live the good life.

Sayan Datta said...

Thank you for the advice, Sir. I will consciously keep that at the back of my mind while reading your posts.

I am happy and proud that I could make you feel glad and well content. I know however that I am still only scratching the surface, glimpsing only the tip of the iceberg. The beginning has been made however, the initial inertia has taken years to overcome. Fervently hoping to build on it in the days, months and years to come.

Sayan Datta said...

Sir, I found this little quote in the book 'What would Buddha do?' -

A friend in need walks seven steps to help us.
A real comrade walks twelve to give us aid.
A person walking weeks with us is kin.
Walking longer they become ourself.

I can sense an uncanny similarity between Seth's poem and these lines from the Jataka.